Tuesday November 14, 2006
By Margaret LaPlante
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
The fall of 1909 was an exciting time for Ashland, Oregon residents. The newly built Ashland Springs Natatorium [NAT-uh-TOR-ee-uhm] opened to the public for the first time.
The $40,000 project included two, 100-foot long swimming pools. To protect the modesty of the women, one pool was for men and the other was for women. The pools included springboards, slides, high dives, and even trapeze rings. In addition to the swimming pools, there was a 100-foot-by-200-foot building that could seat 500 people overlooking a huge maple dance floor that doubled as a skating rink.
As the years went by, the Natatorium suffered from competition from hot springs that had opened in the area, and ten years after its gala opening, the doors quietly closed.
Over the next ten years the building was used occasionally for events, but in the late 1920s the building was torn down.
The swimming pools sat empty and abandoned until the 1940s when a local investor renovated both pools and reopened under the name of “Twin Plunges,” capitalizing on the fact that the swimming pools were indeed twins.
After a long run of providing cool summer fun for locals and tourists alike, Twin Plunges closed for good in the 1970s.
Today’s episode of As It Was was written by Margaret LaPlante [LUH plant], the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I’m Shirley Patton. As It Was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas – dot- org
Noah, Catherine. “Twin Plunges,” Table Rock Sentinel, Summer 1992, vol. 12 no. 3, p. 45.